£1.5m awarded for nuclear waste disposal research

Funding worth £1.5 million has been awarded for research into the disposal of nuclear waste. The University of Sheffield will investigate the durability of spent nuclear fuel. Dr Claire Corkhill […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Funding worth £1.5 million has been awarded for research into the disposal of nuclear waste.

The University of Sheffield will investigate the durability of spent nuclear fuel.

Dr Claire Corkhill will build a model and chemistry of the radioactive waste material and assess its long term stability under simulated geological disposal conditions.

Over 60 years the UK has generated nuclear waste with a volume capable of filling Wembley Stadium and is expected to remain radioactive for more than 100,000 years, according to the university.

While the potential for radioactive elements released into the atmosphere are “extremely low”, there is concern that groundwater may begin to slowly dissolve it, it added.

The research aims to address that issue.

Dr Corkhill said: “Ultimately, we aim to enhance our understanding of the safety of the long term management of nuclear waste in the UK and worldwide and hope to increase public confidence of geological disposal concepts. This funding will significantly influence the realisation of these objectives.”

Last week Chancellor George Osborne invited bids for small modular nuclear reactors in his Budget announcement and pledged to invest at least £30 million for an advanced manufacturing R&D programme to develop nuclear skills capacity.